Thomas Shapcott

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Thomas Shapcott

BornThomas William Shapcott
(1935-03-21) 21 March 1935 (age 88)
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
OccupationPoet, novelist, playwright, editor, librettist, short story writer and teacher
Nationality Australian
Notable awards2000: Patrick White Award
Spouse Judith Rodriguez

Thomas William Shapcott AO (born 21 March 1935) is an Australian poet, novelist, playwright, editor, librettist, short story writer and teacher.



Thomas William Shapcott [1] was born in Ipswich, Queensland, and attended the Ipswich Grammar School with his twin brother, who was born on the previous day (20 March 1935). (The writer is left-handed, but his twin is right-handed.) He left school at 15 to work in his father's accountancy business, but completed an accountancy degree in 1961. In 1967 he graduated in arts from the University of Queensland. [2]

His first artistic impulse was to be a composer. By age 19, he had written a number of works, but he turned away from music when he discovered a string quartet he had written unconsciously plagiarised a chamber work by Ernest Bloch. [3] He then worked as a tax accountant, a profession that he pursued for 27 years.

He was director of the Australia Council's Literature Board for seven years, and Executive Director of the National Book Council (1992–97). He was Professor of Creative Writing at Adelaide University. [4]

He has written 15 collections of poetry and 6 novels.

Thomas Shapcott was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in 1989. [1]

Selected list of works

Poetry collections


Short story collections

Young Adult



See also

First Seed Ripening an album by Elixir and Katie Noonan. The tracks on this album are inspired by Shapcott's writing.

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  1. 1 2 It's an Honour
  2. Australian Poets and their Works, by W. Wilde, Oxford University Press, 1996
  3. Jason Steger, Best wishes from Patrick White: $20,000 prize for a man of letters, Sydney Morning Herald , 11 November 2000, p. 5
  4. The Age , Easter Edition 25–26 March 2005, Review, p. 16
  5. National Library of Australia Theatre of darkness : Lillian Nordica as opera; Retrieved 11 August 2013